Berlin: FC Schalke 04 reaped their second win in the Europa League after beating Austrian club FC Red Bull Salzburg 3-1 in their second round clash in Group I.
The “Royal Blues” were able to overturn their losing streak in the domestic league, as goals from Leon Goretzka and Benedikt Howedes, and an own goal from Duje Caleta-Car sealed another three points in the Europa League on Thursday, reports Xinhua.
Schalke started aggressively into the encounter and pressed the visitors from Austria into defence. Naldo almost broke the deadlock with three minutes played, but Salzburg’s goalkeeper Alexander Walke defused the effort on target.
However, the custodian was helpless in the 15th minute, when Schalke’s pressure paid off as Leon Goretzka headed home his own rebound from very close range to mark the opener.
Salzburg lacked in penetration and were unable to threaten Schalke’s bulwark, whereas the hosts should have added a second goal to their lead but Sead Kolasinac pulled his effort just inches over the target in the dying minutes of the first half.
After the restart, the hosts started where they left off and ensured a bright start into the second half as Benedikt Hoewedes’ cross from the right wing got deflected by Duje Caleta-Car and made it 2-0 on the scoreboards in the 47th minute.
Schalke were not done with the scoring and put the game beyond doubt in the 58th minute when Naldo nodded in a corner to make it three. However, the visitors from Austria were able to consolidate their score through Jonatan Soriano, who unleashed a volley to reduce the arrears in the 72nd minute.
With the result, Schalke earned the second win in a row in Group I, while Salzburg suffered their second loss.
“It was a deserved victory for us today,” Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl said. “I am very happy for my team.”
“Schalke have scored three goals from five opportunities and therefore they have won the game today,” Salzburg coach Oscar Garcia said.
Krasnodar sit atop the standings in Group I followed by Schalke, Salzburg and Nice.